Brett Kavanaugh Asks Joe Biden Admin to Respond to Vaccine Mandate Appeal

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh has asked the Biden administration to respond to appeals against a vaccine-or-testing mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.

Kavanaugh oversees appeals from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. That court recently decided that the administration's employer mandate could take effect, leading to a slew of appeals to the Supreme Court.

Those challenging the ban want the Court to pause the Sixth Circuit's decision and Kavanaugh sought a response from the White House by 4 p.m. E.T. on December 30.

The Supreme Court is not considering the validity of the mandate itself, which is still set to be argued before the lower court.

However, the challengers have asked the Court to fast-track a review of the mandate before the Sixth Circuit's decision.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked the implementation of the mandate. However, because of the large number of challenges to the mandate, the Department of Justice asked that they be consolidated before a single court.

The Sixth Circuit was chosen by random selection and on December 17, that court reversed the Fifth Circuit's pause on implementing the mandate.

The mandate requires workers at all businesses with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive weekly tests.

The requirement was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under emergency authority granted to it by Congress, which welcomed the ruling on Friday and said it would not begin issuing citations to businesses who fail to implement the mandate until January 10.

The appeals against the mandate are being taken by religious nonprofits, businesses groups and more than two dozen Republican-led states. They want to pause the mandate while litigation on the matter is ongoing.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses criticized OSHA for introducing the requirement using its emergency powers in its brief to the Court, calling it an attempt "to use brute regulatory power to impel vaccination of millions of Americans."

The Buckeye Institute, a free-market public policy think tank, argued that the Biden administration is "frustrated with a minority of Americans' medical choices" and was trying "to control and surveil the vaccination schedules of enormous swaths of the country's population."

Kavanaugh may bring the matter before the full Supreme Court for consideration and it remains to be seen if a majority of the justices will grant a stay of the mandate while the matter is litigated.

The Court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority but some justices, including Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, have upheld vaccine mandates in the recent past.

The Supreme Court could decide on the stay in early 2022 but the Biden administration's vaccine-or-testing mandate could come before the justices again next year when they may have to decide the requirement's validity.

Composite Image Shows Kavanaugh and Biden
This composite photo shows Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh and President Joe Biden. Kavanaugh has asked the Biden administration to respond to appeals against an employer vaccine-or-testing mandate by December 30. Getty Images